Last week I talked about some of the common myths of retirement, here is a continuation of some of those myths.
Myth #4 – Never touch your capital.
Conventional thinking and approaches often work on keeping your assets intact. That may work for the wealthy, whose investments generate plenty of cash flow so that they can preserve their capital for their children and grandchildren.
For the rest of us, it’s okay to spend your capital as a way of providing lifetime income. While saving may be a goal in itself during your working years, plan on an orderly spending of what you have saved during retirement. Isn’t that what you planned? It really is okay to spend your capital. That’s what it is there for.
The idea for many is to spend down in retirement. That’s why you save. Work with a retirement income planner on ensuring that you have enough capital to provide you with the cash flow you need no matter what happens; no matter how long you live. Look at alternatives to provide legacies for children and favourite causes while giving you the cash flow you’ll need.
Myth #5 – You need 70 to 85 percent of your current income level in retirement.
A growing number of analysts and researchers on retirement income and spending patterns have found that most people will be fine if they target 50% of their pre-retirement earnings. Statistics Canada has many years of supporting data on this.
You see, the focus should be on consumption dollars, what you spend on yourselves and your own lifestyle. For most Canadians, that excludes mortgages, child rearing costs and saving for retirement – things you wouldn’t necessarily be spending money on during retirement. You will need 100% of your consumption dollars and some extra money in the early, active years of retirement for those special trips and experiences you have dreamed about for years. Your actual replacement income goal will depend on your marital status, whether you own a home, whether you have children and how much money you earn, so the range can go from 40 to 60 percent.
Working with an advisor trained in the unique field of retirement income planning can prove greatly beneficial in order to work out what you need and what you want to do throughout the various phases of your retirement.
Myth #6 – You need that initial level of retirement income, indexed for the rest of your life.
I’m sure you can come up with a list of things that don’t fit the “set it and forget it” philosophy. Set the cruise control and forget it. Set the room temperature and forget it. Invest in a certain investment that has a particular risk associated with it and forget it. You need to make adjustments as the situation changes, as your needs and priorities change. Retirement income planning works like that.
Retirement isn’t one long vacation. It isn’t one period in your life. It represents the longest set of phases in your life. Each phase will have different needs for cash flow.
You’ll need more money in your early, active years. You then settle down to a more normal retirement where expenses drop. Then late in life, poor health, the loss of your spouse or partner, losing your driving license and your attitude and behaviours may cause you to spend even less money.
Yes, you may require money for long term care needs, but hopefully you planned for that before your retirement so that those needs aren’t coming out of your regular cash flow late in life. The amount of money you’ll need and the most efficient means of getting are important points you should review yearly. Set up an investment and income stream that is flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances. Stress test the plans, strategies and components to make sure they continue to do the job they were designed to do. Life changes and your needs for income will change with them.
Grant Galloway, CFP, CLU, CHS
Grant can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 519-579-7324 ext. 1 or 1-866-328-7324 Toll Free